Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Media spotlight

Had my picture in the paper with Marta and Matt N from Roar on Friday. Matt N has just left to recreate Peter Pinney's journey (the centrepiece of the Dust On My Shoes broadband project) from Greece to Burma. Then my letter to the Coodabeen Champions was read on national radio on Sunday night, which was a hoot. Yesterday at the Anzac parade the whole family was filmed by someone or other with a pro camera. We might have been on the news but we didnt see it.

RIP large possum

All heading off to pool Sunday morning in the white car - large dead possum in the gutter. Could have dodged the issue with Marcus but showed him so he would know what we were talking about. Detour to tip to bury possum. Marcus asked a lot of questions. Seemed to rationalise it so it wasnt dead. "I think someoneone drew the possum on the road with a black pencil. And that's why it can't stand up." He was worried if we buried it, it wouldnt be able to run around. Sigh. Elf and I both sad too, quite grudgingly fond of possum presence around the place.

New Car

Its all happening. Buying a car. 02 Subaru Outback. White. Named the Ice Cream Car to smooth transition for sensitive 3 year old who is commendably loyal to old red car. Its a bit beefy but very safe. Lot of knobs and levers. Barry is doing us a hot deal.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Fish frocks

Just noticed on the cover of a ladies mag up at the shop(Take Five or That's Life or perhaps Vapid) this headline: I make clothes out of barramundi.

Tinkling the ivories

Marcus played us a loud piano piece, while stomping and leaping around (the stool was elsewhere). It was lively and raucous but not too violent. He said "That song is called Dinosaurs Coming"

This morning he showed us a sheaf of drawings and rattled off the titles. "This is a colourful banana lemon, this is some raindrops, this is a beautiful orange, and this is a blue greem". Dream? "Greem". A dream you had last night maybe? Hmm. He went along with that. "Yes, a blue dream"

Last night we were looking at photos of our house and playing with the design for the new house. He likes moving the trees around. I made a little picture of each of us and of the cats, and he moved them around too. We looked at another old picture of the current house and he asked a question that made me think he didn't recognise it. I told him that was our house, looking down the side from the clothesline. "Yes, I noticed that".

Michael has been a real handful this morning. He can be very uncooperative at times. A very determined and stubborn little character.

I test drove an 02 Subaru Outback yesterday, that we are thinking of buying. The salesman's name is Barry. I just can't imagine him doing anything except selling used cars. It was a manual, so smooth and quiet I had no idea what gear I was in half the time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Found text

Someone's old shopping list was in the basket I picked up at the supermarket last night. A pretty normal list except for "fagaroonies".

Marcus did a drawing last night of "a digger knocking down our house so that it can build our new house".

Monday, April 18, 2005

Wordy boys

Michael seems likely to be just as verbal as Marcus. He is talking a lot, parroting what he hears (such as "Richo!") but also learning and attaching those sounds to the right things. One of my favourites is "there y'go" when he gives you something.

Marcus has a hooded bath towel which is called the witches hat. He has to run around nudely with it on his head and flapping behind him. Last night he said - "If I'm a witch I could fly!" I said yes, witches can fly. "On a stickbroom!"

I read a nice story today about James Hird the Essesndon footballer (an ornament to the game). He was playing football with his 5 year old son Thomas in the backyard. Thomas said "I'll be Matty Lloyd. Who are you Daddy? You can be Mark Johnson."

Friday, April 15, 2005

Toilet success

Marcus has got going to the toilet down pat. He is wearing pull-ups most of the day now. For the uninitiated, a pull-up is a not-terribly-absorbent nappy with an elastic waist, that you put on like underpants. He takes himself off to the bathroom, pulling down his little dacks as he goes, and calls for help if needed to wipe his bot. It took a long time for him to be enthusiastic about it, then the penny dropped and he realised he doesnt like nappy changes. Now he can avoid them. We are all very pleased - not least because we save heaps now on nappies.

Michael is saying "I want" a lot. For the first time this morning I heard him say "I want 'puter". Groan.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Computer v Books

Marcus is having a computer-free day today. I said to him that its important to remember to do other things, like drawing and reading and running and making things with blocks.

He said "Lets read books!" I enthusiastically said "Yes, its great to read books. You should read books every day". Marcus said "Its strange that you can read books every day but you can't do computer every day. Why is that? Why can't you do computer every day too". Erm.... He raved on and on "I have some books on the computer that I want to read. You click on the number 1 and it turnsd one page, you click on the number 2 and it turns two pages, you click...)

He really likes the computer.

Michael is rolling onto his back and lying there smiling with his hands behind his head. And saying "Yeeeeeeeeah!" a lot. Next we'll move onto the word "duuuuuuuuude".

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Back In Town

Elf and I had a great time down on the Tasman Peninsula. The weather has been and still is great for April. We stayed at a place called Osprey Lodge that had lovely water views and steps to the beach. I had a pre-breakfast swim that I enjoyed but left me with an earache and frozen feet until nearly lunch time.

We walked all over the convict site at Port Arthur, and took a boat over to the Isle of the Dead which was the cemetery for the settlement. We walked for a long time until we were footsore and our brains had absorbed too much historic (and some not-so historic) brutality, lunacy and mayhem. Its a lovely setting for such dreadful suffering to have occured.

I would recommend Osprey Lodge except that you are required to chat constantly with the hosts, and I found that a bit tiring. People who are looking for a good long chat - this could be the B & B for you.

We escaped their clutches yesterday morning and drove around the peninsula pretty much at random until we reached Slopen Main, which is a dreamy beach with fine white sand dappled with shade by pine trees. Sorry, I turned into Charlotte Peterswald for a moment there.

I was going to link to her site for those unfamiliar with this real estate poet, but I just found this one which epitomises her work.

"A terraced garden entices the eye upward to this smoothly robust 3 bedroom family home embraces with an airy grace. As glorious sunlight deluges in through large windows into the open plan living an innate sense of generousness and capaciousness envelops this home. With lush carpets, velvety walls and graceful arcs the modern interior contrast softly with the lovely front timber deck inspirational for contemplating the expansive views of the gentle river and rolling hills. Change the focus and survey these rich views from any of the front rooms in quiet comfort. House size 127sqm and land size 703sqm approximately."

Is it generated by some kind of algorithm? Is she on drugs? Does she have 1000 monkeys and 1000 typewriters? What does "smoothly robust" mean? We await a learned commentary on her work to make it accessible to the average reader.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Elf and I are off down the Tasman Peninsula for a couple of days. Mum and Dad have arrived to look after the boys until Tuesday. I've been a bit flat out trying to get Dust On My Shoes ready for the ABC to cast over a critical eye, so I have been tardy with my posting, as an alert reader in Carlton has pointed out.

Weather permitting we will spend a whole day at Port Arthur, which should give me plenty to write about next week.

Michael is holding his pencil correctly already, which is amazing. We have to hound Marcus to do it right, he tends to hold a pen or crayon in his fist.

When Marcus is upset lately he mutters that he's "going to put you in a tiny little bin".

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Boys bounce on bed

The gap is narrowing a little between what Marcus and Michael are physically capable of. They were bouncing like mad this morning, hanging onto the end of the bed and cackling like maniacs.

I went for a stroll before bed last night, across the bridge and up the steep street opposite our house, where you can look across the valley back to our place. I startled a wallaby which went crashing off into a vacant paddock by the road. It sat and watched me for a while then took off again. I walked down the hill, around the back of the Female Factory (it was a womens' prison in the 1800s) and home, This area reminds me a lot of Wivenhoe, the part of Burnie where my mate Joe lived when we were growing up there. A bit damp, a bit industrial, but interesting in a way my newer suburb up on a hill never was.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Strange but beautiful encounter

When we got through the school gate this morning I was really pleased to see Marcus break into a run, keen to get into it. He's sometimes much more reluctant. Then he turned around and ran back shouting "DAAAAAD!!" - he didnt seem scared though.

An african man had come out the door Marcus had been running towards. The next thing I know, I'm holding Marcus's hand and the man is holding his other hand, kissing his hand, murmuring to him, tousling his hair and then kissing him on the cheek and bustling off again. I couldnt help laughing all the way through it, it was so unexpected but lovely. Marcus seemed to take it in the spirit it was intended. I think the man thought he had scared Marcus and wanted to reassure him.

The man was gone and Marcus didnt seem to give it a second thought, but it left me with a good feeling.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Justify your grunt

Marcus hears everything, but he has an extremely active filtering system. You know when you read or hear something and, without being moved to actually formulate a comment on it, you make a "heh" noise? Or sometimes "pfuh". Marcus, from the other side of the room, will give you a forensic look and demand "Why did you say "pfuh"? Then you have to make a long-winded explanation to him of what you thought was not-quite-actually remarkable.

But does he take it in when you tell him its TV, not a video, so we can't watch it again? No.

Big cheerios to Philip in Perth who actually left me a comment! Give it a go the rest of you, it doesnt hurt. If he can send me a comment all the way across the burning sands I think some of you could dig deep too.


I find blogging hard on Monday because the weekend is usually a blur.

Elf and I went out to dinner at Gondwana on Saturday night, courtesy of an end-of-year bonus from Roar Film. It was lovely to be out together, although we were both too tired to really do it justice. They are very serious about food. The service was perfect and the atmosphere was quite relaxed - the impression was that its all about the stuff on the plates. Sometimes the theatrical-waiter-snow-white-linen-heavy-silver-ikebana type places are intimidating.

Yesterday we visited the Lovely Clarks at Mt Nelson. The kids entertained themselves mostly and we caught up and blathered on at length in a way you just can't if you are also supervising small folk.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Lets Talk About Specialists!

This morning Marcus was very keen to watch a video called Doctor De Soto, about a dentist who is a mouse. Elf is bringing home many dentistry-related items from the library to try and get Marcus over a little phobia he is working on.

Marcus was insisting that the title was Dentist De Soto. So I explained that dentists are called Doctor because they are doctors, who happen to be tooth experts. There are also ear doctors, eye doctors, bot doctors and so on. He said I had forgotten one kind of doctor - the "take your cat to get his claws clipped doctor".

I heard Michael say a two word sentence for the first time last night. Elf says he says "bye daddy" occasionally but I had never heard it before.